Columbus Dispatch: University expenses will go online in Ohio
The Columbus Dispatch
By Alan Johnson
May 10, 2016
The expenses of some state universities in Ohio, from the president's office to the athletics department, will be available soon online at ohiocheckbook.com
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who introduced the online checkbook 18 months ago, announced today that the first five of 14 state-supported universities will put their operating expenses online in the near future. Ohio State University, by far the largest university system in the state and one of the largest in the country, is not among the first five but is expected to join.
"Taxpayers, students, faculty and alumni have a right to know how money is being spent on university campuses," Mandel said at a news conference at the Downtown office of the Inter-University Council of Ohio. "Do they want to be Blockbuster video or a Netflix? Do they want to be a taxi or uber?"
The first five to go online are Bowling Green State University, Central State University, Ohio University, Miami University and Wright State University. Officials from all five institutions appeared with Mandel this morning.
If all 14 universities sign up, it will add $10 billion to ohiocheckbook.com which now includes $512 billion in state spending and $35 billion from some of the 683 cities, school districts and other local entities which are onboard. It went live in December 2014.
Ohiocheckbook.com allows anyone with online access to search hundreds of millions of financial transactions to find specific expenditures. Mandel said there are have been more than 523,000 searches performed so far.
"Bowling Green State University is committed to transparency and being a good steward of public funds," said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey.
"Accountability and transparency are key responsibilities for Miami as a public university," said President David Hodge.
Mandel said the anyone will be able to search university expenditures, "from athletics to chemistry, from the president's office to facilities offices."
Bruce Johnson, president and chief executive of the Inter-University Council, said he things university foundations — which are not taxpayer funded — may also eventually sign on to the checkbook.
The treasurer's office picked up the $814,000 initial cost of creating the online checkbook and funds its ongoing operation out of its own budget at no cost to participants.